Thursday, March 20, 2014

Greater Than the Sum of Its Short Stories

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


A.J. Fikry happily abandoned his PhD in American Literature to open the first bookstore on Alice Island, the place his wife Nic grew up and always wanted to return to. But since the car accident that killed both her and their unborn baby, this New England summer tourist trap has become a year-round prison of memories and loss. He's now determined to bankrupt his business and then sell his only rare, first-edition book so he can retire and drink himself to death. It doesn't help that his favorite book rep from Knightly Publishers has died and he only finds this out when his replacement, Amelia Lohman shows up pushing their winter list. Then his book is stolen and on the same day, he finds Maya, a 25 month old baby girl, abandoned by her mother in his shop, who she left especially for him. Everything that happens after Maya's mother's body is washed ashore helps A.J. Fikry to slowly understand the sign that adorns the Island Books' shop: “No Man is an Island; Every Book is a World.”

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Unseen Visions, Hiding in Plain Sight

The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh



Beth Moon is gone, and it may have been suicide. Her two daughters, Jazz and Olivia, are in as much disagreement with how to handle it as are their personalities. Jazz wants to put it all behind her and begin a real-life job. Olivia wants to take her mother's remaining ashes to the cranberry glades in hopes of finally seeing the will-o-the-wisp her mother dreamt about for the novel she never finished writing. When the almost blind Olivia runs off after her fantasy, Jazz has no option but to be the responsible one and become her reluctant companion on an impossible quest. Together they follow a path where the secrets between them, and those they end up traveling with, are as elusive as the mythical ghost lights of their grandmother's Slovakian folk tales.